Jam! That’s Good!

Yesterday we went strawberry picking. (Yes, it’s the season here in Central Florida. Sorry all you Yanks!) We picked a bit more that twelve pounds of berries and at $2.50 per pound, they’re quite a bargain!

Pappy’s Fresh Florida Strawberries

And today, I made a little bit of jam … and used about half of what we picked to make ten jars of jam (and a little extra for our fridge for tomorrow morning!)

The process of making jam is a very simple one. I washed and chopped the berries (more than eight cups chopped) last night. They’re so sweet and the refrigerator smelled fabulous when I opened it for my milk this morning! This morning I got the jam put together – it’s simple!

Combine the following ingredients in a large pot on the stove

4 cups chopped or mashed berries (you can use any kind! I used strawberries and mashed them well)

4 cups sugar

1/4 cup lemon juice (I didn’t have fresh but that would be my first choice!)

Over low heat, mix ingredients until sugar has dissolved. Raise heat to bring jam mixture to a rolling boil (stirring constantly) until, using a candy thermometer, temperature reaches 220 degrees.

For the details of the process, please click here to go to the recipe that I use. And click here for good directions about processing your jam (so it won’t get all yucky in your pantry and make you sick when you eat it in six months!)

I don’t worry too much about skimming foam or anything fancy. I also don’t use any pectin because I can’t decide whether it’s gluten free (or not). So, the fewer ingredients, the better. This jam has been a fool-proof treat in my house for years and it never fails. And when the berries are sweet and at the height of their season, all the better! Nothing like it in the stores – even the berries had about ten times more flavor than the ones in the supermarket!

In season, fresh, local … can’t get much better than that! And the process is so centering. I feel more balanced, calm (well, mostly calm) and it’s a great feeling to make something like jam from fresh, local ingredients. We’ll enjoy it for months to come!

Gone knitting!

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